Annals of Operations Research

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 67-96

First online:

The auction algorithm for the transportation problem

  • Dimitri P. BertsekasAffiliated withLaboratory for Information and Decision Systems, M.I.T.
  • , David A. CastanonAffiliated withAlphatech, Inc.

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The auction algorithm is a parallel relaxation method for solving the classical assignment problem. It resembles a competitive bidding process whereby unassigned persons bid simultaneously for objects, thereby raising their prices. Once all bids are in, objects are awarded to the highest bidder. This paper generalizes the auction algorithm to solve linear transportation problems. The idea is to convert the transportation problem into an assignment problem, and then to modify the auction algorithm to exploit the special structure of this problem. Computational results show that this modified version of the auction algorithm is very efficient for certain types of transportation problems.